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1-DAY SNOW MONKEYS, ZENKO-JI TEMPLE & SAKE IN NAGANO TOUR

1-DAY SNOW MONKEYS, ZENKO-JI TEMPLE & SAKE IN NAGANO TOUR

Period

All Year Round

Time

9:35 - 17:30

Meeting Place

JR Nagano Station / Hakuba (winter-only)

Price

Adult (13+) 15,500 JPY
Child (6-12) 11,000 JPY

Highlights

  • Visit the world-famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and learn all about what makes the resident monkeys so unique
  • Explore Zenko-ji, one of Japan’s oldest and most important Buddhist temples, and home to the first known Buddhist statue to be brought to Japan.
  • Enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant and experience Nagano’s renowned food culture
  • Try ‘sake’ with a tasting and learning experience all led by your guide (non-alcoholic option also available)
  • Multiple pickup points in Nagano City (all year round) and Hakuba shuttle service (winter only)*

*From Dec.18th 2019 until Mar.31 2020 guests based in Hakuba have the option of joining this tour by using our morning shuttle service from the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal. Departing at 08:20, our staff will have you board the tour bus and begin your journey toward the Snow Monkey Park. Additional pickup points are available in Nagano City including Hotel Kokusai 21 at 09:10 and Patio Daimon at 09:55 (upon request). Please note, that the guide will join the tour from JR Nagano Station.

 

Description

 

Your guide will meet you at JR Nagano Station at 09:35 (the guide will be waiting from 09:20 onward) and from there head to Zenko-ji. As a registered National Treasure, the temple is the most important cultural site in Nagano and one of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in the entire country!

 

Zenko-ji temple in Nagano cityikko sanzan

 

A place of true historic importance, full of legends and myths, you will be guided around the temple before (time permitting) your guide will give you the opportunity to explore the surrounding precinct of smaller temples, shops, and food by yourself.

 

Nakamise street, Nagano

 

It’s then time for an early lunch! Depending on the time of year we use different restaurants, each serving cuisine highlighting the best of Nagano’s renowned food culture. From delicious and warming beef, chicken, or vegetarian hot pot in the winter months, to mixed sushi plates and Nagano-style chicken or seasonal grilled vegetables through spring to autumn, meals are designed to match the season and complemented with a guided ‘sake’ tasting experience, led by your guide.

 

tour lunch 3

 

Home to a huge number of breweries, Nagano is synonymous with sake and no visit to the region is complete without delving into Japan’s most famous beverage. Dip you toes into this seductive world as your guide explains the process, terminology, and appreciation of Nagano’s acclaimed sake (a non-alcoholic option is also available).

 

Well-fed and warmed by sake it`s time to head-out of Nagano, as you are transported to the Snow Monkey Park. Your guide will take you along the forest trail which leads to the park and into Jigokudani – rather dramatically translating to `Hell`s Valley`. Home to the only troop of monkeys in the entire world known to bathe in hot springs, there are no barriers separating you from the wild monkeys, making this a unique and memorable experience.

 

snow monkeys in bath snowSnow Monkeys_190217_0435

 

Your guide will introduce these truly curious creatures and provide you time to enjoy the unique experience of observing them in close proximity. Make sure to bring your camera as you`re going to need it!

 

Snow Monkeys_180710_0235Snow Monkeys_180521_0227

 

By visiting the park in the afternoon when visitor numbers are lower, we aim to provide our guests with the best possible experience and more space and time with the monkeys. Your guide will then accompany back along the trail and soon have you heading back toward Nagano, the perfect time to sit back, relax, and look through all those monkey photos before the tour returns to JR Nagano Station and concludes at 17:30.

 

  • For guests who joined the tour in Hakuba, the bus will then shuttle you back to the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal where your day is scheduled to conclude at 18:45.

 

ITINERARY

08:20 *Winter-only* Guests using our shuttle service from Hakuba will be greeted by our staff and board the shuttle service to Nagano. Please note that the guide will join at JR Nagano Station. (Upon request) we will stop to collect guests staying at Hotel Kokusai 21 at 09:10.
09:35 Meet up with the guide at JR Nagano Station. The meeting point is in front of the Information Board, directly opposite the shinkansen/bullet train ticket gates. Additional pickup point is available at Patio Daimon in Nagano City at 09:55 (upon request).
10:00 Arrive at Zenko-ji Temple and explore the precinct with your guide followed by (time permitting) 25-30 minutes of free time.
11:30 Enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant along with a sake tasting experience led by your guide.
13:00 Depart Nagano and head toward the Snow Monkey Park.
14:00 Arrive nearby the Snow Monkey Park area. Prepare and walk along the forest trail (25-30 minutes) into the park.
14:40 Arrive at the park and enjoy watching the wild macaques bathing in the onsen and going about their lives.
15:40 Depart the park and walk back out along the forest trail.
16:20 Leave the Snow Monkey Park area and begin your return journey to Nagano.
17:30 Tour concludes at JR Nagano Station, where the guide will say their goodbyes (guests returning to Hakuba will then be shuttled back to the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal with an estimated arrival time of 18:45).

NOTES

Included:

  • Transportation fee from Nagano to the Snow Monkey Park and between activities/attractions
  • Snow Monkey Park entrance fee
  • Lunch (vegetarian options are available, please let us know beforehand)
  • Sake tasting
  • English-speaking guide

 

Excluded:

  • Additional food, snacks and drinks
  • Optional entrance fee to the inner sanctuary of Zenko-ji Temple
  • Shinkansen/bullet train tickets
  • Accommodation

 

Other Information:

  • There will be a significant amount of walking required (1.6 km one way) to get to and from the Snow Monkey Park, along an unsealed forest trail so please wear appropriate shoes/boots.
  • From mid-December until early-April the trail and park are likely to be affected by snow and ice. Please ensure that you are wearing suitable shoes/boots and warm clothing. If required, rental boots are available close to the monkey park and crampons (metal spikes that attach underneath your shoes/boots) can also be purchased. From mid-December until early-March please wear suitable clothing for temperatures potentially below 0°C (and as low as -10°C).
  • During the winter it is common to see the Snow Monkeys enjoying the hot spring bath, however from spring up to autumn there will be times where the monkeys play or eat in the water, however please note that the monkeys are wild animals and there is no guarantee that there will be monkeys in the bath.
  • There are a few days in the year that the monkeys might not come down to the park. In such case we will provide an alternative activity.
  • *Winter only* – guests in Hakuba can join this tour using our shuttle service from/to the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal. This service is only available from 2019/12/18 until 2020/03/31. We apologise that bookings from/to Hakuba cannot be accepted outside of these dates. When using this shuttle service please note that your guide will join and depart the tour at JR Nagano Station.
  • This tour includes lunch at Monzen Terrace Enya. On rare occasions it may not be possible to use this restaurant in which case we would switch to another, comparable location
  • Infants (0-5) are free of charge. An infant lunch is not included and the order will be made directly to the restaurant according to your needs.
  • The tour application deadline is 1 day before the tour date at 17:00.

MEETING PLACE

Google Map

JR Nagano Station / Hakuba (winter-only)

Kurita, Nagano-shi, Nagano, 380-0921, Japan

FAQ

What time of the bullet train should I ride to arrive in Nagano on time? What time does the bullet train depart back to Tokyo after the tour?

The start and finish of the tour are arranged according to the bullet train (called Hokuriku Shinkansen) timetable. See below for specific timetables on the bullet train departure and arrival times to/from Nagano Station.

 

Departing Tokyo Station – Arriving Nagano Station:

Tokyo: 07:20 – Nagano: 08:43 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only) 

Tokyo: 07:24 – Nagano: 09:14 – Asama

Tokyo: 07:52 – Nagano: 09:30 – Hakutaka*

* JR Nagano Station is a small station and our morning meet-up point is directly opposite the shinkansen/bullet train tickets gates at 09:35. Therefore you can take the 07:52 – 09:30 train service however please ensure you come straight to the meeting point after your train arrives.

 

Departing Nagano Station – Arriving Tokyo Station:

Nagano: 17:55 – Tokyo: 19:20 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only)

Nagano: 18:22 – Tokyo: 20:00 – Hakutaka

 

Also, if you are staying in Myoko Kogen and would like to join the tour, you can take a train from Myoko Kogen Station and get to Nagano Station on time (830 JPY / one way).

 

Departing Myoko Kogen Station – Arriving Nagano Station:

Myoko Kogen: 7:48 – Nagano: 8:32

Myoko Kogen: 8:39 – Nagano: 9:22

 

Departing Nagano Station  – Arriving Myoko Kogen Station:

Nagano: 18:14 – Myoko Kogen: 18:59

 

Can I join the tour from meeting points other than JR Nagano Station?

 

Yes. We offer 3 pickup points in Nagano City all year round for the convenience of our guests. Our main/default meeting point is JR Nagano Station at 09:35 – in front of the Information Board directly across from the shinkansen tickets gates – however we also offer pickup in the lobby of Hotel Kokusai 21 at 09:10 and in front of Monzen Terrrace Enya/Patio Daimon at 09:55.  You can choose your preferred pickup point from the relevant box on the booking menu. Please ensure that you come to your selected meeting point on time.

 

How does the winter-only Hakuba shuttle service work?

 

Due to the popularity of this tour, we will be operating a winter-only shuttle service from and to Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal between Dec.18th 2019 and Mar.31st 2020. This service is provided at no additional charge. If you would like to join the tour from Hakuba simply choose that option from the ‘Select your pickup option’ menu. If you choose this option, our staff will meet you at the meeting point in Hakuba and have you board the shuttle service to JR Nagano Station. The tour itself operates from and to JR Nagano Station and on most occasions, the guide will join and leave the tour at that point.

 

Can I start in Hakuba and leave the tour in Nagano / start in Nagano and end in Hakuba?

 

Yes. We are happy to provide this service for you. Just select the relevant options and please explain your preference in the Special Requirements field of the booking page.

 

I am staying at Yudanaka/Shibu/Kanbayashi Onsen, can I end the tour there instead of returning to JR Nagano Station? Can you transport my luggage?

 

Guests staying nearby the monkey park are free to end the tour there and not return to JR Nagano Station. Yudanaka Onsen, Shibu Onsen, and Kanbayashi Onsen are all popular accommodation options in the region and we are happy to say goodbye at either Kanbayashi Onsen or Yudanaka Station. It may be possible to transport your luggage with us however please let us know if advance, particuarly if you have large suitcases. This tour includes a reasonable amount of walking and might require use of public transport. The guide will not be able to assist with carrying your luggage however they can arrange for it to be left while you visit the temple and monkey park.